Letter to the Brethren: October 19, 2017

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Post-festival greetings from Grover Beach, California.

We have received reports and/or photographs from several of festival sites that are included in today’s letter.

Because of speaking nine days in a row, plus the fact that a sermonette that Jay Chiang gave was of the nature that if we were to use it, it should be used in October 2017, I decided to not to speak or make any videos last Sabbath. Therefore, we have Jay Chiang’s sermonette as well as a two sermon options recommended for this Sabbath.

This speaking ‘break’ also gave me an opportunity to put some time in reviewing and updating an upcoming lesson in the Study the Bible Course as well as to put together some festival information.

Continuing Church of God 2017 Feast of Tabernacles’ reports

2017 marked the fifth year that the Continuing Church of God held its own Feast of Tabernacles’ sites.

It looks like we had festival sites in 15 locations. If you coordinated a festival site and have not yet sent us in a report with your total attendance, please do so.

This was the fourth year that my wife, youngest child, and I divided our time between a site in the USA and another outside of the USA.

This time we went to Takanini in the North Island of New Zealand for the first half of the Feast of Tabernacles, and then San Diego, California in the USA for the second half:

Takanini, New Zealand

San Diego, California, USA

Because of crossing the international dateline, I was able to speak nine days in a row (opening night, the 7 days of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day).

Many attending in San Diego (and the vast majority of whom did not live in California) told my wife and I that they would love to have the Feast of Tabernacles in San Diego again some day–though they realized that this was not the plan for 2018. In addition to a site in Kansas, we expect an eastern USA location site, probably between Connecticut and South Carolina for 2018 (we will not know the location for some time as airline schedules for that time period are not available yet on places like Orbitz.com).

The Feast went well in Wichita, Kansas and Richard Close said he would try to get me one or more photographs, which have not yet arrived here.

In Canada, I was sent several photos of a boating activity that several attended, so here is one of those:

Kingston, Ontario site activity

Alexsandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic coordinated the CCOG site in Serbia. Joanna Kersten sent the following photograph from there:

Zlatibor, Serbia

She mentioned that the weather has been absolutely wonderful there. She also mentioned that when she connected at the airport in Dubai City, that the wifi denied her access to the www.ccog.org website. I had the same problem when I was in Dubai on my way to Kenya earlier this year.

Speaking of Kenya, Tomas Koskey sent the following report from Bomet, Kenya:

Here is our one week Feast of Tabernacles at Bomet it began on
Wednesday 4th of October when we open out meeting with cerebration.
We have preparing best meal for our visitors. We had over 30 members
who attended on the first day. We have two lesson on the first day and
was largely on part of Feast of Tabernacles. We also had an evening
lesson to which more people attended and the house was full on Friday
more people attended and we had morning after lunch and evening
lessons. We continued doing the same until Wednesday and God bless us
and new souls were saved and we prayed for,the years feast was actually
more different from the others since we have spend allot due to big
turn up. Thank you

Tomas Koskey

We received the following from Pastor Sawek in Rift Valley in Kenya:

I Greet you all in the Name of Jesus.
We, the Rift Valley (Transmara, Njoro, Bomet, Mau) Members held a meeting for eight days and it turned out successful. We were blessed with Spiritual Training and Teachings.
The people were filled not only Spiritually but also with the bodily satisfaction of food. They were also happy with the services and support we gave them.
I thank you all, but mostly Pastor Ochieng for the planning that took place.
The challenge moreover is the way the people were starved. They experience starvation and hardships in terms of conquering drought and availability of water. But we thank God that the last 2 days when the meeting was supposed to come to an end we were blessed with Rain. But there was no Water Tank for storage but with your prayers we believe we will get one soon.
Our Camera Man, Joseah Kipngetich, did a great job in Photo Session however he needs a better quality camera that can take great photo and video graphics whenever we have meetings in Rift Valley next year. Also, he can really come in handy in the Photos in our Church Magazine( Continue Church of God)
In the photos, you will see Pst. Sawek ,  the children lining up for food, the women too and the choir which sang beautiful songs of praise.
Attached are the photos of how the event turned out in Transmara, Chilani Church. (Chilani Church is the headquarter of all the meeting place in Rift Valley.)
God Bless you all, I’m Pastor Sawek.

Here is a photo related to the Feast of Tabernacles in Ndhiwa:

Festival Choir, Ndhiwa, Kenya

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report from Kenya:

Pastor Dr Bob,

 Greetings from Kenya.
Wonderful feast of Tabernacles 2o17 in Africa. As far as concerns the reports that I have received from all corners of Africa, the Feast of Tabernacles 2o17 in Africa was well done.
Ndhiwa had a nice dinner on the opening day, sermon by Evangelist Evans and opening prayer by pastor Ezekiel Oanda. The feast was every nice, full of joy and teachings. I sent pictures and videos to Steve. The attendance was 158. Both elderly and children.
Five people were baptized. These are Faith Ouma from Ndhiwa congregation,Evans Mauti, Linet Mauti, from Kisii, Francis Odhiambo and Filgona Atieno from Nyakach.
I received the feast reports from Right valley in four sites through pastor Sawek and pastor kosgey that the feast was very exllent in the four sites. These are Njoro Nakuru, Mau, Bomet and Chilani.
I also received a wonderful reports from Granton’s and Molozwa that the feast was every nice in Malawi. I received many greetings from the two chiefs in Malawi and one chief from Mozambique who all attended the feast in Malawi. They joined the church during my last trip in both Malawi and Mozambique. I was very happy to hear that they were in the feast site for 8 days. The Continuing Church of God is highly fulfilling Mathew 28:19-20. I was very happy to hear that many brethren came from Mozambique and Zambia and Malawi.
When I attended the feast in Tanzania, I received a wonderful feast of Tabernacles with 19 brethren and was well done. Today I talked with Koang Deng on phone. He told me that the feast was good. We had a network problem so we didn’t talk much.
I wanted to thank you pastor for the support that made all the feast sites to move successfully. I have not hear from Samuel from Ghana. But I hope he will send his report.

After receiving that, I noticed less people than expected and asked Evangelist Evans Ochieng about that:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.
It is true that people were less than last year at the feast. Pastor there is a big problem in Kenya and some brethren feared to travel. Kenya is in a big problem especially Luos and Kikuyu and Kalenjins. And part of Kisii. People are dying badly. So many people were afraid to travel. Transportation was also a big problem. The owners of the vehicle were afraid to move.
Pray for the brethren in Kenya. Kenya is not safe.

Please pray for the brethren in Kenya and other parts of Africa. The political situation in Kenya is still tense–plus there is always the threat from al-Shabab (e.g. Islamic State defeated in Raqqa, while al-Shabab kills around 200).

Speaking of troubles in Kenya, I learned last night that the laptop computers that were shipped there last April final arrived. We had concerns that they were either lost or stolen–but at least now they have arrived.

Here is an email report we received from Ethiopia:

Dear pastors:

The Feast of Last Great Day is going well here in Ethiopia. And also we are happy to heard that you are going well too. Let the world to see Our God’s plan after the reign of Jesus Christ, He will  save others peoples after the end of days (Millennium). ..
Best regards,

Deacon Koang Deng also sent the following photograph from the festival site in Ethiopia:

Gambella, Ethiopia 

People from Ethiopia attended. Some were also invited to attend from South Sudan:

Dear pastor:

Yes, three people from South Sudan,but now live in Refugee Camp.Because Pagak now under both Government and Rebel.They are always engaged in wars.All civilians leaved Pagak to Ethiopia border/Refugee camp. …
Best regards,
Koang Deng

Anthony Flavell sent in some information about the Feast in the Philippines:

The Philippine Feast of Tabernacles was very successful in Bacolod and we received much spiritual Food.

There were 11 Brethren in attendance  including one new Brother … who was with Church of God cogwa but after studying our Website www.ccog.org he decided to join us.

Myself, Oscar Mediavilla and Jose Lumpay shared duties in Song Leading, Opening and Closing Prayers and me Anthony Flavell delivered 4 Sermonettes which were well received by the Brethren.

We had several Field Trips during the Week and enjoyed a number of Lunches and Dinners together.

On the Last but one day of the FOT we received a call from Dick Perlass who informed us that he and his Wife wished to join the Church and they are already saving to attend 2018 FOT probably in Bacolod again. …

Kind Regards

Anthony Flavell

His wife also sent the following photograph:

Bacolod, Philippines

We have already began to discuss possible sites for next year.

The locations for 2018 are intended to be announced at the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2018.


My brother-in-law reported that he heard my name mentioned on the radio program Coast to Coast in the USA. A guest on that program named L.A. Marzulli (who I met) commented that I was more of an expert on Fatima than he (he just made a DVD on Fatima which I was interviewed by him for). So far, I have never been on the program Coast to Coast as I suspect that I am probably too biblical for the host, but perhaps that will change in the future.

As far as radio goes, I am scheduled to be on with Dr. Deagle next Tuesday at 2:00 pm CDT on the Republic Broadcasting Network.

World News Items

US President Donald Trump has now stated that he will not certify that Iran is in compliance with its nuclear deal. Donald Trump’s comments brought many negative reactions in Europe. European Council on Foreign Relations analyst Ellie Geranmayeh stated this move “has really been seen in Europe as a terrible betrayal of European allies” (see Does Donald Trump on Iran mean ‘America first, America alone’?). There is a growing rift between the USA and Europe, and biblically, this will not end well for the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).

Austria voted for an anti-immigrant leader in its election on Sunday (see WP: Austria turns sharply to the right in an election shaped by immigration). More and more in Europe are concerned about Islamic immigrants and Europe will one day change (Revelation 17:12-13) and deal with those from the Middle East and North Africa violently (cf. Revelation 13:4; Daniel 11:40-43).

As far as change goes, another European leader has called for Europe’s national borders to be redrawn and replaced by regions (see Catalonia an EU concern. ‘Regions’ proposed for EU!). This is something I have warned about for years related to the prophecies in Revelation 17:12-13.

A Swedish ambassador commented that his nation was moving towards a dictatorship (see Swedish Ambassador Admits, We’re “In The Process Of Dismantling Democracy”). Biblical prophecies teach that Europe, including temporarily Sweden, will embrace a dictator for a time (cf. Revelation 13:1-10; 17:13).

As I have been writing the past few years, the group calling itself the Islamic State is suffering defeat. While Kurdish fighters have helped defeat that group, the USA and others do not want the Kurds to end up with their own independent nation (see Kurds take Raqqa, but lose Kirkuk to Iraq). It is likely that the Sunni Muslim Kurds will one day end up supporting the final King of the South of biblical prophecies (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-9) and not be any type of ally for the USA.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one: China in 2017. Other sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Holy Day Plan of Salvation. Here is a different option which was given at the Feast of Tabernacles in San Diego: Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel, especially if you wish two services today.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p. If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel. IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

Jesus prayed:

11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:11-19)

God’s biblical Holy Days which occurred during the Roman calendar year 2017 are now past.

So, now that we once again are in the world (wherein during the festival we are more removed from it), we are not to be of the world.

We are to live sanctified, set apart, by the truth of the word of God.

Be encouraged that we were able to keep the festivals this year. We look ahead for the kingdom of God to come that the Feast of Tabernacles is simply a small foretaste of.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

Posted in Letters to the Brethren
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.